balance

Balance is a life long pursuit.  The moment I start taking it for granted, I lose it.  I’ve spent years trying to find the perfect recipe of health and wellness, trying to hit all the things I need to be balanced:  being productive at work, doing yoga, walking, running, eating well, sleeping enough, drinking herbal teas, breathing, playing music, having good relationships with the people in my life, etc. It seems that the recipe for balance changes as time progresses, and it’s not always an upward arc of improvement.  Sometimes you fall a little; you get back up, you feel solid, you fall a little again.  And it goes on.

philly_nighttime_ann
photo thanks to SunB

The balance poses are some of my favorites in yoga.  They’re challenging and they show me that I have strength, determination, and the ability to master imbalance as well as laugh at myself when I fall.  I hope that in life I will always try to get back up with grace and humor as I continue to seek this ever-changing recipe for balance.  And be rewarded with possibility.

 

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love=prosperity

Lately I’ve been waking up and meditating and chanting every morning.  I light the candles, maybe some incense, grab my cup of tea and sit quietly to start.  Breathe and look out the window.  Think about the day, set my intentions. Then I decide which mantra to chant.  During this morning’s chanting session, I decided to do the Lakshmi mantra.  Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and fortune, and she is honored during Diwali, of the Festival of Lights, which was yesterday.

Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and fortune
Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and fortune

I had already come up with the “melody” to accompany this Lakshmi mantra:  Om hreem shreem Lakshmi bhyo namaha. But I just wanted to check and make sure I had the words right, and did a quick search online.  Apparently this mantra is used to attract material wealth and prosperity. Chanting a mantra to increase your wealth seems to go against the yogic grain – in yoga as far as I can tell, everything you do, you do with no expectation of getting anything in return.

At any rate, during the 108 recitations of the Lakshmi chant, these words popped into my head:  True prosperity is love. Love is true prosperity.  A sense of joy came over me and I began to smile, because I realized that I am prosperous in love.  I’m not talking about another person loving me, but more the idea of experiencing a pure love that comes from within. And then it occurred to me that when you’re in a relationship, your partner helps you find that love, and the love shines more brightly.  But they are not giving you love from an external source. You already have it there, and this love, the love we all have to give to ourselves and to others, that is the true prosperity. Again, you don’t “get” love.  You already have it.  And when you express it, it should be with no expectation of receiving anything in return.

morning meditation

This morning’s meditation, 20 minutes, was fruitful. A bit of breathing, mantra, and detaching was just what I needed.  Lately I’ve been feeling this urge to hold on to my life dearly.  I want to exist in the good things forever.  I want to possess the people around me who make me happy, because I don’t want things to change.  Or I want to force a change that is not organic. And in that very attempt to hold on, contrIMG_4459ol, possess, inhabit, I lose perspective and become trapped in the muck of emotion.  It’s easy to forget that nothing is permanent.  In fact, pretty much the only thing you can count on is change.  And therein lies one of the real difficulties of being human – trying to welcome personal evolution, even if it hurts (and it almost always does,) and attempting to understand the impermanence of everything, right down to your own mortality.  I can’t really control anything, anyone, or expect that things will be the same tomorrow. Endings, transitions, and difficult moments can be honored as part of the larger cycle of this amazing life we’ve been given.

What can I learn from being down in the emotional mucky muck?  I can try to recognize and break the patterns that I’ve repeated that are no longer serving me. These samskara, or life scars, create the lens through which I see the world. By practicing asana, meditation, pranayama, and mantra, I try to lift myself to clarity, to a state of detachment – so that I am not so clouded by emotion.  I still have a long way to go for a clear lens.  My goal is to experience the truth and joy of each moment, without judgement or expectation.  To give to others and to myself, and to know it will all come to an end eventually- and be okay with that.  I want to live with my heart open, not closed in on itself, protective and fearful of being hurt.  I want to simply BE without so much thinking.  The moment we are in right now is all there is.